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Your Business Commentary

Mike's often irreverent, thought-provoking analysis of the industry-- with an occasional guest columnist.

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An Interview With CHA's Membership VP Sue Turchick

Why and how CHA is forming chapters and sections.

Staff Report (June 3, 2013)

(Note: Sue owned Scrapbooks Too, an independent store in Bloomington, MN for 12 years and spent four years leading Crafter's Home. Prior to that, She spent 16 years in banking and accounting.)

CLN: What sections and chapters are up and running now?

TURCHICK. There's the Bead Section -- they just named themselves the NABA, North American Bead Association of CHA). The Leadership team has been meeting at least monthly via teleconference, and have meetings scheduled at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee.

The Sewing Section is in the "formation" stage. We had 24 people attend our meeting in Portland, and we have asked for "leadership volunteers" from those attending, as well as those who expressed interest in the section who couldn't attend. There is a Sewing section meeting in Vegas, which will be the next formal meeting.

Paper Crafts: This one is very interesting. We haven't really talked to anyone about starting this, although I think the entire industry agrees that we need one, so we scheduled a Paper Crafting Section meeting during the Create-n-Connect Summer Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas. Registration for that event is HIGH -- only Tim Holtz and the new buyer event currently have more registrants! So we will kick off the formation of that Section at C-n-C in Vegas.

Social Media: This section is being spearheaded by Carmi Cimicata, who is a CHA Designer Member. It is intended for those who work for CHA member companies who are primarily responsible for "social media." In many cases, these individuals are now the "voice" of member companies, simply because of the huge impact that communications through these channels have. They will be having their first meeting at the Vegas show. Designers: This is our longest standing section. They are led by a "Designer Council," and is open to Designer Members. It will also meet in Vegas.   

Regarding chapters, the Utah chapter was formed in March; first chapter luncheon is being held on June 13. While its comprised primarily of paper crafting manufacturers, the leadership team, however, is strongly committed to including all crafting businesses in Utah.

The Southern California chapter has an interim leadership team that is meeting to discuss future plans.

The Canadian chapter re-formed in December and is up and running.

And of course, the CHA-UK in Great Britain, which is really a bit different because it is a separate business entity.

CLN: What areas would you like to see start up?

TURCHICK: Publishing, Bloggers --  I would have to say I would like to see any start up where there is a critical mass. Two years ago would we have ever dreamed that there would be an interest in a Social Media Section? The most important thing is that there be a strong voice or two, the commitment of time by a few key volunteers, and a willingness to be inclusive of all parties who fit in the section.  

For Chapters, we have had people reach out with interest in a DC/Northern VA chapter, a NJ/NY chapter. I'm in the Upper Midwest, so I think we'll see those three chapters get going in the next 12 months. However, like with Utah, if there is a group of people in a geographic area who want to form a chapter, we will go where the interest is.  

CLN: How will the sections work; what is the structure?

TURCHICK: For the chapters and sections -- when starting up-- the initial group of "interested people" are loosely formed into a steering committee. That steering committee works together to set the initial direction of the section/chapter. The steering committee then selects the first "Leadership Team" which is a group of 4 to 12 people who work together to make sure that the needs of its constituents are met. The Bead team, for example, is focusing on "retailer education" this year; Canada is focusing on "communication and consumer awareness"; and Utah is interested in doing everything it can to strengthen the trade show and provide networking opportunities. It's fun and exciting to see the different issues and opportunities the different groups are focused on --it's all going to strengthen the Association and the Industry.  

CHA Staff will provide all the administrative help needed to get the Sections/Chapters up and running; we will set up events, facilitate initial discussions, collect any fees, record minutes -- whatever it is that the Groups need us for.  The idea is to ensure that the Volunteers aren't handing "administrivia"-- rather that they focus on content and bringing people together to achieve all goals.

We are also working hard to make sure that all the leadership of the Sections and Chapters know each other so that they can share ideas, concerns, etc., and so that if one group does something really fabulous, the others have the benefit of it, as well.

That's where the CHA staff comes in: if we're working in a part of the business where we aren't "expert, "we're taking the time to learn, ask a lot of questions, and participate so that we can react and share across the groups in the most effective way.     

CLN: Once established, what will they do?

TURCHICK. Since we're in the early stages, this will also be fun to watch. Some may decide to have a networking meeting with a speaker or a panel discussion once a quarter; others will be taking on major initiatives to strengthen their parts of the business. I envision many meetings where our members are going to be at our own shows, of course, but also at other related events like the Tucson Bead Shows, Quilt Market, and even some of the large scrapbooking consumer events. CHA is in the role of "connector," so we'll be going where the people are to provide ways for our members to get together and have good things happen.

CLN: What meetings will be held at the show in Vegas?

TURCHICK: Here's the list: Designer Section Meeting, NABA (Bead) Section, Sewing Section, Paper Crafting Section, Social Media Section, and the Canada Chapter

CLN: If someone can't make the meeting but wants to be involved, what should they do?

TURCHICK: For the Designer and Bead Sections, they can contact Jen Snider (jsnider@craftandhobby.org). For the Utah and Southern California Chapters, and the Paper Crafting and Social Media Sections, they should contact Lidia Diaz (ldiaz@craftandhobby.org). For the Canadian Chapter and, Sewing Section, they should contact Paula Jones (pjones@craftandhobby.org).

And of course they can contact me: sturchick@craftandhobby.org

CLN: Why should someone get involved?

TURCHICK: From my perspective, there are a lot of reasons that someone should get involved. (These aren't necessarily in order of importance.)

1. A chapter or a section, as one voice, will be very effective in communicating to the CHA board of directors and staff, as well as others in the industry, their needs, wants, desires and opinions.  

2. It's a great way to get to know your suppliers, retailers, competitors or meet others who can have a significant impact on your business, and on your own professional development.  

3. If you know how things can be done better -- this is your chance! CHA CEO Andrej has spent the last 18 months "listening" to our members, and that's a big part of his and my role on a go-forward basis. There are only 20 people who work for CHA, but we are great at facilitating and helping provide our members with the tools to create change and make great things happen.

4. Those who volunteer, as a rule, tend to be much more "plugged in" to what's going on in the industry and will know of all the great opportunities and benefits they can get from being members of the Association.

xxx

 

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